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Vorontsova, Maria, S.

Photo of Maria Vorontsova
Job title: 

Grass Taxonomist

Herbarium, Library, Art and Archives
Monocot Systematics
Joined Kew: 
Foreign languages: 
Russian, Latin
Qualifications and appointments: 
  • PhD, Open University, sponsored by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 2008
  • MA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2003
  • BA, Natural Sciences, University of Cambridge, 2000
  • Book Reviews Editor of the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 2011 onwards
  • Systematics Association Council 2010 onwards
  • Editor of Phytotaxa 2009 onwards
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society of London

Research into the taxonomy and evolution of Poaceae and management of Grassbase

Research into the taxonomy and evolutionary history of grasses with special emphasis on the grasses of Madagascar and early diverging grass lineages. Development and curation of Grassbase: the largest standardised descriptive dataset of any plant group with ca, 11,000 species descriptions and 60,000 taxon names. Organisation of the grass collections at the RBG Kew herbarium, supervision of curation, staff, visitors and volunteers, and carrying out naming of incoming material. Teaching courses on grass evolution and identification to MSc students at the University of Reading and the University of Kent, and to Diploma in Horticulture students.

Selected publications: 

Besnard, G., Christin, P. A., Malé, P. J. G., Coissac, E., Ralimanana, H., & Vorontsova, M. S. (2013). Phylogenomics and taxonomy of Lecomtelleae (Poaceae), an isolated panicoid lineage from Madagascar. Annals of Botany 112: 1057–1066.

Vorontsova, M.S., Ratovonirina, G. & Randriamboavonjy, T. (2013). Revision of Andropogon and Diectomis (Poaceae: Sacchareae) in Madagascar and the new Andropogon itremoensis from the Itremo Massif. Kew Bulletin 68: 1-15.

Vorontsova, M. S., Stern, S., Bohs, L. & Knapp, S. (2013). African spiny Solanum (subgenus Leptostemonum, Solanaceae): a thorny phylogenetic tangle. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 173: 176-193. Available online

Christin, P. A., Osborne, C. P., Chatelet, D. S., Columbus, J. T., Besnard, G., Hodkinson, T. R., Garrison, L. M., Vorontsova, M. S., Edwards, E. J. (2013). Anatomical enablers and the evolution of C4 photosynthesis in grasses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110(4): 1381-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1216777110.

Vorontsova, M.S. & Simon, B.K. (2012). Updating classifications to reflect monophyly: 10 to 20 percent of species names change in Poaceae. Taxon 61: 735-746.


Vorontsova, Maria, S.